Archive for the ‘ Friends ’ Category

Today is Tom Selleck’s 73rd birthday, which reminds me of a funny story.

Well, it’s funny to me.

We’ll get to that in a minute, but first…

Selleck, star of stage and screen is best known for his work as a detective in Hawaii in the series Magnum, P.I.

and most recently his near decade long run as the Police Commissioner in Bluebloods.

I’m a big fan; of course I was quite upset about Linda’s departure, but at least there was no crock-pot involved.

Selleck was born in Michigan, his mom was a stay at home mom, and his dad was an executive and real estate investor.  His family roots go back to the earliest European settlers in America.

Somewhere along the way, mom and dad decided to move to California; Tom played basketball at the University of Southern California, and was a frat boy.

A drama coach at USC saw him and advised him to try acting, which he did, and we’re grateful for that.

He served our country in the Vietnam Era in the California National Guard.

His first appearance on TV came when he was a college senior and was a contestant on The Dating Game.

Shortly thereafter, he was “discovered,” did a Pepsi commercial, and a few others, Magnum came along, and the rest is superstardom history.

I know, I know, everyone knows about Tom Selleck, but what’s with the funny story, right?

Well, if you’ve read the About page on this here blog, you know I spent a major portion of my life with “the phone company.”

I moved from job to job and state to state as I crawled my way to the lower portion of the middle.

In the early 1980s, I found myself in Orlando on 500 South Orange Avenue working for Southern Bell Telephone as a business office rep.

I had just transferred there from Melbourne, Florida, and was a relative unknown to the other service reps – of which there were plenty – in the building.

Back then, we answered with our last name, you know, “This is Mr. Brads, how can I help you?”  Well, Mr. Brads was always returned as Mr. Graham or Mr. Brown or some other error, so I started going by Mr. Davis.  No one ever got that wrong.

The phone rang, I answered on the first ring as we had to do then, and said, “This is Mr. Davis, how may I help you?” only to get the reply, “Who are you?”

Now, I thought that was obvious, and said my fake name one more time.  The response was “When did you get here?” and still not sure if this was internal or external, I politely answered that I’d just transferred from Melbourne, Florida that week, and was indeed new to the office.

The reply was, “Oh, this is Carolyn in Unit 3, and I didn’t know we had any new people.”

There was more chatter, pleasantry, and after answering the business question she had, I was about to say goodbye when she said, “What Unit are you in, I’ll come introduce myself.”

I said, Unit 2, and I’ll be easy to spot, because I look exactly like Tom Selleck.

This just in: I did not.

Within minutes, I noticed the door to the office open and a woman standing arms akimbo scanning the office.

I waved, and said, “Are you looking for Mr. Davis?”

To which she replied, “Well, you don’t look a thing like Tom Selleck!”

Her disappointment was epic.

But, to this day, she calls me Tom.

So, happy birthday, Tom, and if you ever need a stand-in…

The 32 Window Coupe

 

One tenth of the US population goes to school every day in a big yellow 32 window coupe.

That’s about half of the US student population.

In just about every other country in the world, school buses , city buses, and mass transit buses all look the same.  But not in the US of A.

Oh, no, we’ve got to have yellow buses.

But even in the US, they weren’t always yellow.

In 1886, Wayne Works started making school hacks or kid hacks, but they were few and far between.

And they were drawn by horses or oxen or in some cases, mules.

Back in the day, most kids really did walk five miles UP hill each way in a snow storm.

Or their parents took them just like Mrs. Ingles in the Little House show.

In 1914 Wayne Works started using automobile chassis as the auto caught on in America.

The kids would climb on, and sit around the perimeter of the bus rather than facing forward.

Blue Bird started designing buses that looked more like what you see today, and in the 1930s, school buses were regulated and standardized by the government.

Prior to that, they were usually vehicles that had been modified to be used as a means to an end:  getting the rug rats to the school marm.

The rounded roof, called the California top, came along when the Gillig Brothers applied for a patent on the design.

As time moved on, safety for the kids became a greater concern.

Seems the buses weren’t all that safe!

So, just as the depression was about to end and WW II was about to start, Dr. Frank Cyr called a confab in Manhattan and the boys in power set about developing school bus standards.

Seems Frank had been coast to coast looking at school buses.  He found there were no standards, and safety did not abound.

His meeting in Manhattan consisted of representatives from all 48 states, Hawaii and Alaska having not yet been added to the union.

The result;  a slate of 44 national standards which has grown over time to over 300.

One result was that all school buses should be “national school bus glossy yellow.”  Yellow was chosen because it gets noticed faster than any other color out there.

Studies showed – seriously, there were studies – that yellow in the peripheral vision was noticed 1.24 times faster than any other color, and the boys were hoping people would notice the color quickly and stop so the kiddies could be dropped off or picked UP.

35 of the 48 states immediately dashed out and painted all their buses yellow, but it wasn’t until 1974 that all the US got on board.

In the US, you can’t buy a school bus that isn’t that color. International, Blue Bird, and the rest refuse to make them any other color for schools.

We all remember going to a ball game or school in a school bus, and while mom may have made us buckle UP, there was no way to do so on the school bus.

There still isn’t.

Only buses weighing fewer than 10,000 pounds are required to have seat belts.  The reason; it costs too much!

And the manufacturers claim the buses are already safe and added research shows adding seatbelts doesn’t make them any safer, and in some cases could actually injure kids in a crash.

The driver however has and is required to wear a seatbelt.

Go figure.

On top of all those excuses, fitting seatbelts on buses would be tricky.  Seats on a bus will carry 3 kids under seven years of age or 2 middle and high schoolers.

So, you’d have to have buses for the littles and buses for the bigs which would add about 15% to the ever burgeoning cost of school transportation.

But, hey, they’re only kids right?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims their research, which goes back to 1987, indicates there is “…little, if any, benefit to including seatbelts in large school buses.”

And, if the kids do nothing but stay in their seats, they should be safe.

All in all, the “egg carton theory” of school buses seems to be working.  It is the number one way kids get to school in America and out of 26 million children who ride the bus to school, an average of 6 die on a yearly basis compared to the 1,000 who die walking, biking, or riding to school with mom or dad.

This post was inspired by a friend who bemoaned the fact that her child missed the bus by seconds and the snarky bus driver refused to wait.  Knowing how my mind works, she said she was awaiting a history of school buses post.  Never being one to disappoint, now you have it. 

One By One…

It is the way of man; we’re born, we grow, we live, produce, fade, and pass on.

No one escapes it, but each time someone near to me passes,  I’m reminded that one by one a generation leaves us and we become the older generation.

The oldest – at least for a time.

Friday brought another reminder, Richard Nunery, father, grandfather, and trusted family friend passed away at the age of 90.

He leaves behind four daughters, several grandchildren, and a host of friends.

His death cuts a little deeper not only because of its reminders, but because Mr. Nunery was my dad’s best friend for over 50 years.  Our families are connected by faith, the past, the future, and firm friendships that started on a snowy New Year’s Eve 1957.

There were two men who were responsible for our move to Germantown in 1957; Tom Calhoun , whom I’ll post about someday, and Richard Nunery.

Mr. Nunery was the head of the pastoral search committee when FBC Germantown was looking for a new pastor in 1957.

I’ve told the story before, but humor me, Dad came to Germantown for a week’s revival, stayed nearly three, and shortly thereafter, the church called him to be the pastor.  He held that post for over 20 years until his health got the best of him and he retired and became Pastor Emeritus  for a few.

Both men were fixtures in Germantown. Dad, the pastor, and Mr. Nunery an established insurance salesman with his own agency. In their respective ways each offered assurance and insurance to many.

Dad with the plan of salvation and assurance, and Mr. Nunery with not only the gospel, which he shared with many, but a plan for retirement, keeping families protected and secure, helped hundreds if not thousands in the town.

In a sense, they both peddled fire insurance.

At a time like this when we see a generation leaving us one by one, it reminds us of our duty to carry on their message, their beliefs, their values, and their faith.

Nature’s way of making room can be saddening, but it should bring us hope as well.

Happy Friends Day!

In most South American Cultures, today is Friends Day.

It’s a day for celebrating friendships both old and new.  It’s not all that old of a holiday; beginning in Paraguay in 1958, the idea spread throughout much of the South American Continent and eventually made its way around the world.

Of course, it’s not always celebrated on April 18; Oberlin, Ohio has its own friend’s day 10 days earlier.  I’m guessing they just read the date wrong!

And in 2011, the UN declared July 30, International Friendship Day; the South Americans would have nothing to do with it!

So it remains April 18th each year!

Initially created by the greeting card industry, the idea waned over time, but with the advent of social media, it’s seen a renewed interest.

In many places, cards, flowers, friendship wrist bands, and other tokens are provided to friends to honor the day and their relationship.

So, on this Friend’s Day, here’s a shout out to my more than 1,100 Facebook friends and the seven of you who read my blog every day!

And of course, the friends I’ve had forever…even if they’re not all here.

Happy Friend’s Day.